Toledo zoo welcomes 100-year-old tortoise
TOLEDO (AP) — The newest resident of the Toledo Zoo is a 100-year-old dome-shelled Galapagos tortoise that weighs in at 440 pounds.
The tortoise, named Emerson, arrived at the zoo Wednesday night from the San Diego Zoo. He was escorted by Toledo Zoo personnel on his flight to Detroit before being driven to Toledo and uncrated inside a heated shed.
Handlers welcomed him with carrot and sweet potato treats and a neck rub.
The (Toledo) Blade reports Emerson is the zoo’s first Galapagos tortoise since 1983 when his predecessor, Galopy, was sent to San Diego at the recommendation of the Galapagos Tortoise Species Survival Plan.
Galopy was also a wild-born tortoise and was the much-beloved face of the Toledo Zoo for 32 years.
Teen cleared in Ohio crash that killed friend
ELYRIA (AP) — A juvenile court magistrate has cleared a teenager in a 2012 northeast Ohio crash that left her passenger dead.
Prosecutors claimed Laniqua Lusane was speeding and lost control of the car before the crash in Lorain County that killed 16-year-old Alexandra Clifford. She was charged with vehicular homicide and negligent assault.
The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram reports that in a ruling Wednesday, Lorain County Juvenile Court Magistrate Steve List wrote that prosecutors failed to prove Lusane was responsible.
An attorney for Lusane, who was 17 at the time, argued that she wasn’t responsible because Clifford, who was riding in the front passenger seat, had grabbed the wheel when the car veered onto the rumble strips on the side of the road, and that caused the crash.
Prosecutors declined to comment.
Ohio serial rapist gets 135 years in prison
CLEVELAND (AP) — A man who was linked to seven Cleveland-area rapes when authorities reopened hundreds of previously unsolved rape cases has been sentenced to up to 135 years in prison.
The sentence by a judge in Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County on Wednesday means 69-year-old Robert Green likely will never get out of prison. He was indicted in five of the cases in November and two more in May. He pleaded guilty.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that the rapes occurred over nearly a decade. They were unsolved until Cleveland police began sending about 4,000 untested rape kits to a state lab for testing.
DNA found in the rape kits first linked five of the rape cases together. Green was initially linked through an address provided by a victim.
Ohio man arrested in cold-case FL murder
SANDUSKY (AP) — A northern Ohio man has been arrested and charged with a 1987 murder in Florida.
Investigators say 64-year-old Carl McCauley was arrested Wednesday in Sandusky on a murder warrant issued in Polk County, Florida, which is east of Tampa.
The Sandusky Register reports that McCauley is accused in the fatal stabbing of 41-year-old Karen Watson in March 1987. She lived in the Tampa Bay area.
A search warrant affidavit filed in Sandusky by Polk County deputies says Watson died from multiple stab wounds. Investigators say they located McCauley living in Sandusky, and a DNA sample he provided matched DNA from crime-scene evidence.
Police said McCauley didn’t confirm or deny his involvement in the slaying. He asked for a lawyer, but it wasn’t clear Thursday if he had one.
Ohio authorities apprehend missing inmate
LEBANON (AP) — Authorities have apprehended an inmate who was missing from a southwest Ohio jail for more than 24 hours after she went on leave for a dentist appointment.
A judge granted 26-year-old Melissa Rae Helton temporary furlough from the Warren County Jail for a dentist appointment Tuesday. Under the terms of the furlough Helton, who was being held for two counts of felony drug possession, had permission to leave jail from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day. Authorities say she did not show up for her appointment and she did not return to the jail by the deadline.
The Warren County Sheriff’s office says Helton was apprehended Wednesday evening in Hamilton County and is back in custody.
Officials say Helton now faces a felony escape charge for violating the furlough.
OSU rejects band director’s request for hearing
COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio State rejected the latest appeal for reconsideration by its fired marching band director on Wednesday, rejecting Jonathan Waters’ request to schedule a public hearing that would allow him an opportunity to defend his reputation.
In a letter to university officials, Jonathan Waters’ attorney said this “name-clearing hearing” is called for because the university violated due process rights that Waters was guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. Attorney David Axelrod said Waters would need about two business days to question university employees sufficiently to restore his reputation.
University spokesman Chris Davey said the issue of Waters’ dismissal will not be revisited.
“It is closed, and it is time to move on,” he said in a statement.
Waters was dismissed July 24 after a two-month university investigation concluded he knew about or reasonably should have known about but failed to stop a “sexualized culture” of rituals within the band that included students marching partially-clad, playing groping games on buses, bestowing sometimes sexually explicit nicknames and publishing lewd newsletters and a songbook.
He had directed what’s known to fans as The Best Damn Band in The Land since 2012. His halftime shows were considered revolutionary and drew millions of hits on YouTube.
University President Michael Drake, who announced the firing, and Board of Trustees Chairman Jeffery Wadsworth have both stood by Waters’ dismissal, resisting vigorous efforts by Waters, his legal team and members of the TBDBITL Alumni Club to have Waters reinstated. His defenders are expected at Friday’s meeting of the university trustees.
Waters had spent most of his adult life in some role with the band, beginning as a student sousaphone player. His supporters contend he had begun working from the inside to improve the culture of the band, believing that student buy-in was the best way to eliminate some of its outdated traditions.
Axelrod told university officials in the letter that the school disseminated its investigation report to the public without giving Waters an opportunity to respond, violating his constitutional rights.
“The report is replete with false, defamatory and stigmatizing statements concerning Mr. Waters, and has wrongfully tarnished his reputation, honor and integrity,” the letter said.
Davey said Waters “was not forthcoming or truthful with university personnel on multiple occasions.” He said certain details released this week by former squad leaders in Waters’ defense “corroborate this dishonesty.”
“We are sensitive to how some current and former band members feel about the leadership change, and we understand that some are now stating that their experience with the band is at odds with what is reflected in the investigative report,” Davey said. “We are encouraged by and appreciate hearing about positive experiences; however, the report’s basic conclusions about the specific complaints and the culture are not refuted by anyone.
Ohio’s largest county records 90 heroin deaths
CLEVELAND (AP) — The medical examiner in Ohio’s largest county says 90 people died of heroin-related overdoses in the first half of the year, a slight decrease from the same time period a year ago.
Dr. Thomas Gilson says he’s encouraged the numbers in Cuyahoga County have dropped from 97 deaths during the first half of 2013 but remains concerned about the large number of young victims.
Data released by Gilson Tuesday show women accounted for about one in every five heroin-related deaths this year, the lowest level since 2010.
Gilson says eight of every ten victims were white, just under half lived in Cleveland and a quarter were ages 19 to 29.
Last year the county recorded 195 heroin-related deaths, shattering the previous record of 161 fatal overdoses in 2012.